Table of Contents
The Building Automation and Controls segment continues to grow, with the strongest growth in the “BRICS” countries: Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, and those with similar economies. There continue to be a few dominant global players, but with others showing strength in regions, or in niche segments. As technology advances, existing services tend to become more “commoditised” with companies trying to move up the value-chain.
Some suppliers of DX air-conditioners are offering more generalised building automation solutions. HVAC solutions are becoming more ‘intelligent’ with more sophisticated built-in controls, reducing the routine ‘workload’ of BACS solutions. While the impact of home automation is limited to the upper end of the residential market, suppliers are starting to target their solutions at the ‘lighter’ end of the commercial spectrum. Whilst BACS suppliers have mainly targeted the higher-end commercial market, the mid-scale market has represented a missed opportunity and several suppliers are now offering scalable solutions here. VRF systems have overtaken chillers globally and are gaining market share. Since VRF systems have more built-in controls this changes the scope for building automation.
Whilst telcos and other utilities have recognised a big potential opportunity presented by building automation their model thus far seems better suited to the domestic market. Building automation manufacturers appear to have recognised that not only is cloud-based functionality highly desirable, especially for managing large complex property portfolios, but that if they do not offer it then they may well lose share to newer competitors who do. As building automation becomes more information-based, so the importance of software is increasing, both in the form of targeted applications and sophisticated analytics to identify areas for improved performance. Increasingly, analytics need to be capable of handling “Big Data”, as building systems generate ever greater data volumes. BACS suppliers need to be proactive in this area or risk becoming more commoditised and marginalised.
As buildings become more interconnected, the cyber threat to buildings is becoming more real, and the effort devoted to combatting this needs to become more central to BACS. Facilities management and energy services companies are gaining importance but at this stage probably more as influencers than competitors. Assuming that both the cost of energy and regulatory pressure continue to grow, the success of BACS solutions will be increasingly linked to their energy performance. BACS are applied to a wide range of solutions, including air-conditioning, renewables and heating. Substantial growth is predicted in these areas, offering opportunities for companies capable of expanding into these sectors.
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